OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Le’Bryan Nash had 22 points and 10 rebounds and No. 7 Oklahoma State overcame a sluggish start to pull away to a 70-55 victory over Louisiana Tech on Saturday.
All-America guard Marcus Smart scored three points in the first half and finished with 13 for the Cowboys (9-1), who had not played a game in more than a week.
Smart added five rebounds and five assists, but the Big 12 Conference’s leading scorer watched as Nash did the bulk of the scoring against Louisiana Tech (8-3).
Markel Brown scored 13 points for the Cowboys and Kamari Murphy had 10.
Chris Anderson scored 14 points and Alex Hamilton added 12 for Louisiana Tech, which held Oklahoma State scoreless over the first 4 minutes of the game. But the Bulldogs couldn’t get any closer after pulling within 49-42 in the second half.
The Cowboys used their athleticism and multiple scoring options to turn a close game down the stretch into a lopsided victory in the All-College Classic. The game was played in Chesapeake Energy Arena, home of the Oklahoma City Thunder.
With Louisiana Tech determined to limit Smart, Nash scored 15 of Oklahoma State’s 31 points in the first half.
Nash made 6 of his first 11 shots to pick up the slack for Smart, who was only 1-of-4 shooting in the first half. Smart said he didn’t want to force any shots and instead get his teammates more involved in the offense.
Louisiana Tech trailed by only seven points with less than 9 minutes remaining, but Smart helped build Oklahoma State’s lead back to double digits.
Smart put back a missed shot, then found Murphy for a dunk to put the Cowboys ahead 55-42 with 6:25 remaining.
Oklahoma State hadn’t played since a 79-52 rout of South Carolina on Dec. 6.
The Cowboys struggled early to regain their rhythm and didn’t score their first point until Josh Butler hit a free throw with 15:41 remaining in the first half.
Louisiana Tech, on the other hand, looked fresh playing its second game in four days and facing its highest ranked opponent since the two teams met in 1991.
The Bulldogs relied on their defense to take a 3-0 lead in the opening minutes and hold the Cowboys to 38.7 percent shooting in the first half.
But Nash and Smart created some fast-break opportunities, and Oklahoma State used a 10-2 run midway through the first half to take a lead it never relinquished.